It’s hard not to think of this year as wasted. For me, though I’m not exactly a social butterfly, I can’t help but think about all the things I could have done for myself. For example, I was supposed to go on work experience earlier this year, which was cancelled, and I was hoping to do more volunteering to add to my CV. Apart from career goals, my family was also planning to have a holiday to Spain, which never happened, leaving us feeling woefully underwhelmed by the whole year. It would be nice to imagine that as soon as the clock ticks that all-important tick between midnight and morning on New Year’s Day, everything will change. But in reality, it will take time, not only for the world to sort itself out, but for us to adjust to the new, new normal, the way it used to be. Honestly, whatever happens, it can’t possibly be much worse than what we’ve so far experienced, and I’m just ready for change. I’m ready to get myself out of the slump and get my life back on track.

As I am currently in year 11, my mind can’t help but wander to the dreaded GCSEs. My goal for this year regarding exams is just to work as hard as I can. Although I could probably do alright without putting the effort in, I want to work harder this term because I know that sixth form will be so much harder, and by then I will really need to knuckle down.

Another goal I have set for myself is to put more time into learning languages. By year 8, I had dropped all language classes at my school, and I don’t regret it, but I still think it’s essential to learn a language in your life, if you can. They say, the younger you are when you start out, the easier it is, and time is only running out on that front, so I decided to start right away. I have been learning Norwegian for around 2 years at this point, casually, and it was only in the first lockdown that I started taking it really seriously. This year, I want to make some real progress, because there is a possibility that we will get to visit our friends in Norway, giving me a chance to try out my skills (if I have any)!

Finally, (this was also my resolution last year) I want to keep reading more. I set a goal of reading 12 books in 2020, 1 for every month, and I exceeded that goal by reading 14, which gave me an exquisite feeling of accomplishment. In 2021, I am aiming to read 18. This may seem like a big jump, but I think I can handle it as in the beginning I struggled to keep up, but by around October, I had finally gotten into a rhythm and was way ahead of schedule. After that, who knows? I might just keep increasing that number every year, next year 24, the year after 30, the year after 36. I hope.

Thank you for listening to me talk about my goals, and I hope this inspires you to set some for yourself. Throughout my time stuck inside, I have battled against my own thoughts and often lost, to the point where I spent my days doing nothing. Staying up late and waking up late, watching TV and hating my own idleness. I have no idea whether I will stick to these resolutions in the end. I hope I do. I desperately want to improve myself and go into 2021 feeling much more positive about me and my lifestyle.

Tabitha, 15, Leicester

Like many people, I tend to set New Year’s Resolutions at the start of the year and find that I have broken them all by the end of the first week.

It can also be hard to set personal goals for 2021 and feel positive whilst we are still in the midst of a pandemic. However, it can be a good way of getting through the next few months, to focus on positive things. Also, as someone who loves making lists and has various notebooks with different lists of goals, plans and things to do, written in them, I simply can’t help myself. The problem is that I can end up spending more time making lists than I do actually achieving the things on my list!

Part of the problem with people not achieving the goals they set themselves is that if too many are set, it can be hard to achieve them all. My advice would be to focus more on less goals and try and make your goals realistic and attainable. Also, it might help to have at least one overall goal to motivate you, then breakdown what you need to do to achieve this. For example, my ultimate 2021 goal is to try to get to university.

These are my personal goals:


  • watch less TV and spend less time online
    • revise for my A levels daily and hopefully get the best grades I can.

After the exams:

  • learn to cook more healthy meals as I hope to go to university and will need to look after myself!
    • Start to learn to drive, this summer.

These are a few more ideas for 2021 goals:

  • Learn a new skill (such as learning to cook healthy dishes)
    • Do your CV
    •             Do some voluntary work, online or in person (useful experience for your CV)
    •             If you can, save for something positive like a holiday, travel or university or college.

You can also try to break some bad habits:

  • Spend less time on your phone (set limits)
    • try going to bed at a reasonable time
    •             try to exercise more often.

One overall 2021 goal we hopefully all have is to try to stay safe, as much as we possibly can, and, once the vaccinations have been fully rolled out, my other goal is to live life fully again.

Beth, 17, Leicester

We are all hopeful that 2021 will be better for the wider world, be we as individuals must come up with ways to live life to the fullest and not be bound to the monotonous cycle of a school week. This is why we set resolutions, so we can better our lives more than from the year before. Here are my top four:

  1. Explore the land of literature again – As a teen I am entranced by my phone, finding excuses to throw a book to the side and go down the rabbit whole of searching through my phone. At the rate I am reading books at the moment, 5 seems a minimum goal suitable for the year. I strive for this to include finishing the Lord of the Flies, The Iliad, The Odyssey, Dune and The Great Gatsby.
  2. Improving my sleep pattern – we can all agree during the lockdowns our sleeping pattern has gone awry. I personally believe this has contributed to my decrease in energy during the day and lack of motive.
  3. Increase my motivation – In GCSE’s I need to strive to find more motivation to study and acquire and retain the knowledge learned in class. These past weeks of winter break have stopped this motivation in its tracks and I feel as though my winter break has been wasted. In addition, I don’t want the next breaks to come be wasted away like this one.
  4. Lastly to fill my day with important things – in lockdown I have wasted time and not experienced teenage life to a full, next year I will be bombarded with GCSE revision so now is the time to let loose and enjoy some activities.

Emilia, 14, Leicester

2020, a year of chaos and confusion but 2021 is approaching. A time to which new year resolutions appears but a problem that all of us face is how to stay motivated to do them. Whether it is a small achievable goal or a goal that stretches and challenges us, approximately 80% of people drop their new year resolutions a year but I will show you how to be a part of that 20%.

My blog will include details on how to stay motivated and how to decide the best goals in order to make 2021 a positive and productive year.

There is a difference between motivation and inspiration. Motivation can be defined as something that represents the goals you want to achieve, such as becoming wealthy, having a sports car or a nice house. Inspiration, however, is to be “in spirit” (the root word of inspiration); something that is your calling, something that comes from your soul. My first piece of advice I can give you is to pursue inspiration. The idea of being something you have dreamed of since you were a little boy/girl should be actively pursued.

I believe that the two most important days in your life: is the day you were born, and the day you find out why. Each of us are installed with a gift/power, which is defined as the thing that you do with the least amount of effort. Think of it as, each of us are superheroes with our own unique power that makes us individual and special. For some this superpower may be strength, beauty, nurturing skills, faith, kindness, work ethic or resiliency. My second piece of advice is to identify this superpower, installed within you, and use it in the service of other people.

Using these two pieces of advice you can identify a goal for 2021 that illustrates your inspiration and ultimately your gift. By actively pursuing these types of goals, the work needed to achieve it will be a habit not a chore.

Stay positive and stay productive

Dylann, 17, Leicester (Dylann.spsp)

For me, 2020 was all about goals and learning to better myself because suddenly I had all this time alone with myself. I had to really look around and see what was going on for me. In that time, I developed numerous habits, such as journaling, which have helped me immensely, and I can’t wait to continue my journey into 2021. These are my top 5 goals, in no particular order.

  1. GUITAR – I am an amateur guitarist of two years, and during lockdown I really got into classical music. I also began to learn what kind of practice causes good progress… and what is just sitting and noodling about, and I hope to be able to make better progress in my playing. I also really want to be able to do more collaboration and performance during this year, which although will be hard due to restrictions, makes it all the more a good challenge.
  2. PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS – If I could describe the first 6 months of 2020, it would simply be ME, ME, ME! Of course, taking time to focus on yourself is hugely important, but just as important, humans are social creatures and I really want to take time to appreciate my friends and family more, through texting, calling, meeting up and simply doing thoughtful things for them.
  3. TAKING OPPORTUNITIES – In 2020, so many things were taken away from us, especially things like concerts, events and holidays, which honestly, were all the kind of things I took for granted. Now I know to appreciate these things so much more, and although coronavirus will not be around forever, it has made me realise how much joy there is associated with having the courage to say yes.
  4. LEARNING NEW THINGS – I have always known that I am a lifelong learner, so this one is certainly no surprise to people who know me, but something I really want to do is to learn new things, both academically and non-academically. This year I surprised myself with many achievements after weeks of hard work with things such as learning to touch type and completing a GCSE maths website called Hegarty Maths. Through this, I have gained lots of confidence in my ability to learn new skills, so I want to keep on learning new things such as these.
  5. CREATING – It could be said that there are two types of ways of living, by creating, and by consuming. I’ll admit that I have spent far too much of my 2020 consuming, but luckily, I have also come to that realisation. In my opinion, although creating does inherently take more effort, the biggest barrier for most people is confidence. Of that, I have gained so much in the last year, and I really want to start both creating and sharing things that I make, especially music, where I unfortunately still don’t have that confidence, but I know that I will soon gain it.

Ella, 15, Driffield


Read more from Tabitha, Dylann, Beth, Ella & Emilia